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Press release Little Paekakariki Pride Festival Bigger Than Ever

Posted by [email protected] on October 10, 2018 at 5:45 PM

If you’re in Paekakariki over Labour Weekend you are guaranteed to see a multitude of rainbows in the village. A Rainbow in the Village – Paekakariki Pride Festival is back for its second year and it has grown bigger and more colourful. “Paekakariki Pride Festival is two years old and, like a toddler, it’s toilet trained but has GONE WILD!” – says Val Little, one of the organisers. This year the organisers have stepped up the festival in response to requests for more family-friendly activities and a wider range of events to keep everybody happy, engaged, busy, and most importantly, connected. “Whether you're into physical, social, creative, laid-back, competitive, dress-up, quiet or LOUD & PROUD activities - there's something for everyone”, says Little. A Queer Quiz, a picnic, walks along the Escarpment, drag football and an icy plunge in the sea are among over a dozen activities on offer. Seven of the activities are free or entry by koha. The festival serves several purposes – to raise funds for a local LGBTQI+ and Takatapui social and support service for young people in Kapiti run through Kapiti Youth Service (KYS) and to promote some of the community groups and businesses in the village. Paekakariki is a progressive, diverse, civic-minded community which makes it the perfect place to stage events like Pride. It boasts its own community radio station with over 30 different shows run entirely by volunteers of all ages and musical tastes, a housing trust which advocates for and supports people in hardship to retain or gain housing, a vibrant early childhood education community, conservation groups, a bike library and many other groups designed to connect people and tackle some of the tough social issues. The Festival is the brainchild of Paekakariki couple Pat McIntosh and Val who operate Vinyl & Proud – an exclusively vinyl dj boutique business. “It’s more of a hobby than a business”, explains Pat, “you can’t make a living off it. We do it for the love of vinyl record collecting and our desire to share the joy it brings.” The initial idea for a pride event in Paekakariki came about three years ago when they heard about the plight of renowned New Zealander Georgina Beyer, the world’s first out transsexual MP, who was gravely ill with renal failure and had been all but forgotten by the rest of the country as she awaited life saving surgery. “We had the idea to run a queer dance over Labour Weekend in the local hall to raise funds for treatment costs associated with Georgina’s condition”, says Pat. “We were saddened that this living taonga who has done so much for the queer communities in this country and globally was in such a bad way and decided we’d combine our love of dj-ing, vinyl record collecting and event organising to bring the community together and give back to her.” The dance was well attended by people from the village as well as far afield as Wellington, the Wairarapa and Palmerston North and raised enough funds to assist Georgina to receive the surgery she required. “We were rapt at how the village really got behind the event, everybody dressed up, turned out and gave heaps,” says Val. “Even the pedestrian crossing was given a rainbow makeover (with chalk) and local businesses hung multi-coloured bunting along the main drag. It was the most wonderful festive atmosphere.” Georgina Bayer is now in full health with a new kidney and has been invited to speak on Tuesday 23rd October (the day after Paekakariki Pride finishes) at the Oxford Union. Georgina is the first Māori speaker and only the fourth New Zealander invited to speak at the Oxford Union. Fast forward to 2018 and the festival has grown exponentially since its humble, yet fabulous beginnings. Last year’s event included a much publicised ‘World’s Shortest Pride Parade’ which saw over 250 people and dogs in brightly coloured outfits – many were inhabitants of the village and just as many from out of town. They plan to break their own unofficial record again this year by inviting people and groups to warm up along the aptly named The Parade then gather outside the front of St Peter’s Hall before walking across the pedestrian crossing to the stirring sounds of Taiko drummers. The annual dance in St Peter’s Hall invites party-goers to dress as their favourite Queero or queer hero the same night. There’s a serious side to the festivities too as according to Youth 2012, a major national survey of the health and well-being of secondary school students carried out by the University of Auckland, almost half of queer youth had seriously thought about taking their own life in the previous year. One in five had attempted suicide, compared with one in 20 of their non-queer peers. Queer youth were three times more likely to be bullied every week than their heterosexual peers and almost half had been hit or hurt at school in the previous year. Trans and gender diverse students were also more likely to be bullied or hurt in school, and nearly half of trans students had self-harmed in the last 12 months, double the rate of their peers. Leave your umbrellas at home, bring your heart and sense of fabulous because over Labour Weekend there’s going to be a huge rainbow in Paekakariki Village and you’re invited. For further information and updates check out the Facebook page - Rainbow in the Village – Paekakariki Pride Festival 2018 - https://www.facebook.com/PaekakarikiPride/ Contact Val Little on 021 846 399

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